Hanging acoustics on the wall...good or bad?
Is it detrimental to display nice guitars on a stand or up on the wall? Is it really necessary to carefully store the guitar in its case with a humidifier after playing?
Personally I always had my acoustics in the lounge, either on stands or hung up on the wall. But they were never expensive guitars... now that I’ve invested a bit of cash in an ex demo guitar, I wonder if the woods could suffer in the long run. Humidity fluctuations, temperature excursions, exposure to UV light in the room (which may be a good thing to ‘age’ i.e. darken the top...)
I have heard of fine guitars’ tops cracking when humidity falls below 10% for long periods (weeks), but here in the UK we are ‘blessed’ with constant high values (topically 40 to 70 RH%). Not good for arthritis but perhaps good for nice guitars hung on the wall...
I have bought a small electronic hygrometer which sits on a cabinet right by the guitar so I can monitor humidity levels. The effect of higher moisture levels are really evident on the guitars’ tone and when tuning as well. The guitar literally grows and pulls all strings so my electronic tuner detects ‘out of tune’ towards sharp notes. The opposite effect happens when humidity drops. It’s incredible how the guitar seems to respond to humidity. But can too much humidity ‘grow’ the guitar to the point of causing damage to the joints, purflings, inlays etc?
I’d be interested to hear your views and experiences!
Also when the guitar is always out on the wall, I play it a lot more as there is a psychological barrier to get it out of the case each time...yes, I am lazy but after a long days at work, every little helps!
In the Houston area I've never stored an acoustic in a case and have never had an issue.
I've have all my guitars hanging on the wall in my dining room. I like them on display, they are out of the way of ease of storage and it's quick to just grab one and play. I too live in UK and have never had a problem. 😀
I keep mine hanging on the wall most of the time too for the same reason...so much easier to pick up up and just start playing. Down here in Texas as well and I've never had a problem, but I did just start keeping my new Collings in the case during the winter when I'm running the heater because I noticed that the air inside my house felt kind of cool but the guitar must be near a heating vent or something because the body feels warm each time I pick it up. Not sure if that would harm it or not but I'd rather keep the high end guitars safe. All the others stay hanging 365 days of the year unless I take them out somewhere. So humid down here in Texas most of the time.
I live in Colorado.. a transplant from Virginia. Always kept my acoustic on a stand or wall hanger back in VA where it's rather humid. Moved out here and it split within 2 years. That said, I have another acoustic that seems to be doing just fine. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Edit: It's a very dry climate here. 10% is pretty common in the summer.
Thanks guys. Your replies seem to comfirm that, generally speaking, it is quite safe to display nice guitars around the home most of the time. But not in Colorado during summer months perhaps! should the worse happen i.e. cracks opening in the top or sides, I’ve heard that the tonal properties could even improve! Not sure if I believe this though.
From the first time I started taking lessons, my teacher was adamant about keeping guitars in a hard shell case at all times. He ran a small store and never sold a guitar without a hard case. I've followed this rule most of my life. I've been playing for over fifty years and had one bridge pull loose, and cracked a top due to lack of humidity. This happened when both instruments were in their cases. I live in the midwest near Lake Michigan. The humidity in the winter depends on the heating system in the house. I keep a hydrometer in my studio and the humidity is 34% today, and all my guitars are in cases and humidified at around 50%. I've had no problems in over twenty years. I guess it's sort of a trial and error thing. Hope this helps.
thanks for your reply. If you've managed 50 years' playing with only a loose bridge and a cracked top, you've done pretty well, considering where you live!
Yes, I also had a guitar teacher who was obsessed with storing guitars in a case all the time. His favourite guitar was a Larrivee but don't remember which model. He had different humidifiers for different seasons (northern Italy) and guess what. His second best guitar, an old Guild, still cracked!
I have now hung both guitars on the wall in the stairwell. The new, tatty old Martin and the Blueridge. They kind of complement each other. Vanilla and chocolate?...
I've never had a problem hanging them on the wall, but that's also here in TX. I do keep an eye on the humidity levels in the house, but thankfully it's not been a problem for me and all mine are on the walls.
BTW, Alex, I love that Blueridge you have there. I've got a BR-240A that I love to play.
Well, I live in New Jersey and just cracked the top of my redwood back and sides, stika top Washburn last week. I left it on a stand all the time in my finished basement so I could enjoy looking at it; where I thought the humidity levels were high. But because of the winter heating season, it dried out down there to 33 percent, which I learned after the fact. My advice, keep those solid wood guitars in the case with humidity controls.
Hey Devon, which Collings did you get? I am interested in a DS2H 12 fret slotted headstock, but cannot locate one.
Thanks for the awesome guitar course website. I am 65 and just started playing a few years ago, not the easiest time to learn to play guitar. However, I am up to lesson 7, Cripple Creek. Playing guitar is the only item on my "bucket list"!
That's a bummer your Washburn cracked. I've got the Collings D2H. I really like the DS2H 12 with the fret slotted headstock too...played a few of them at Hill Country Guitars down in my area and they sounded great. I think they just sell guitars online these days https://hillcountryguitars.com/ and they might have some come in at Austin Vintage Guitars from time to time https://www.austinvintageguitars.com/ Good luck with your search! The kind you're wanting is hard to find...you could probably order it out of their custom shop. I think my next Martin is going to be a custom shop with a slotted headstock and a dalmatian pick guard. Love the way that combo looks..especially the slotted headstock.
Sounds like you're making some good progress on the lessons so far. Glad you're enjoying the lessons! Let us know if you find your Collings.
isnt that Blueridge 240A a top end Madagascar/ Adirondack? I bet it sounds like a bomb. Very jealous...
Three weeks later the cracked Washburn is fixed. I learned the hard way, keep those solid wood guitars in the case with humidity controls.